Astronomers say that new generations of small-scale spacecraft, including CubeSats and NanoSats, may be used to explore various aspects of the Moon inexpensively. These vehicles haven't been in operations for a long time, but they are already showing great promise.
The handful of CubeSats already in orbit display great agility and extremely low energy consumptions. Both of these traits are of extreme importance for spacecraft operating in orbit around other celestial bodies, Space
A new proposal calls for the Moon-bound CubeSats to be named LunarCubes. Their main roles would be to study the object's surface, look for signs of water, figure out the chemical composition of its atmosphere, analyze its polar craters, and so on.
An interesting aspect to consider is that these small spacecraft can be inserted into geosynchronous transfer orbits. This means that they could be redirected into a lunar transfer orbit at a moment's notice.